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'Hands-on Learning Fair' set for Saturday at Purpur Arena

Pamela Knudson

At the annual Hands-on Learning Fair on Saturday, young children can play and explore all kinds of activities with their parents, and boost their thinking skills.

The free community event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Purpur Arena, is open to children from birth to 7 years old.

Early childhood educators will offer activities that engage kids in art, science, water play, music, books and literacy, dramatic play and interactive stories.

There are opportunities to have fun with bubbles, puppets and building things, and there's a special infant toddler care area, organizers said.

It's the largest festival of early learning in our region, they said.

The annual event, which begins at 9:45 a.m. with a proclamation by Grand Forks Mayor Michael Brown, is held in observance of the National Week of the Young Child and Child Abuse Prevention Month.

It is sponsored by the Northeast Chapter of the North Dakota Association for the Education of Young Children and Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota.

Purpur Arena is at 1122 Seventh Ave. S.

Survey gauges student engagement at Senior High

All students at East Grand Forks Senior High School recently were invited to fill out a survey to gauge how engaged they are in school, said Principal Brian Loer.

The annual survey, which was conducted in March, is used to determine student engagement in classes and other activities and to help staff members find ways of increasing engagement.

"It's part of our teacher growth and development plan," Loer said. "It's a small portion of (teacher) evaluation."

In the survey, questions such as "Are you given enough rigor?" in school work and "Are you engaged in your classes?" were asked.

About 80 to 90 percent of the roughly 575 students at the high school completed the survey, Loer said.

Before the survey was conducted, parents were informed of it by email and given the opportunity to have their child opt out, he said.

Last year's survey was aimed at determining student engagement in a specific course, but this year's survey was designed to assess engagement in school generally.

Information obtained from the survey is reviewed by school administrators and serves as the basis for discussion among staff members.

"We know that kids learn in different ways; some do well in the straight desk stuff," Loer said.

But the trend is toward offering more hands-on, active learning.

For example, a few years ago the school's curriculum was revamped to make biology "all lab, all hands on," Loer said.

"We're changing up our curriculum, here and there, to see if we can find ways to get kids involved doing things rather than sitting and doing nothing," he said.